Choosing a realtor you can work with can be a daunting task. It seems these days that everyone knows someone who is a real estate agent, or has a friend that is a real estate agent. And with the market picking up in the past two years, more and more people are giving it a try to see if they can make a living selling real estate. Working with a friend who is selling real estate may be fine and work out okay. However, buying or selling a home or investment property is generally one of the largest transactions a person makes. When making such an important transaction, sometimes having a more qualified and experienced realtor might be a better decision for you. Here are a few points to ponder before you make your choice:
Always interview more than one realtor, preferably three or four. Buyers should ask the agents about the different types of financing programs they have used recently, what programs would they recommend for you, and why. Some of the common programs are: FHA, VA, RD, MESHA, Conventional Insured, and there are many specialty loans designed for various occupations.
Sellers are going to want to know how much their house is worth. Hopefully all the values that come in from the agents are going to be similar in value, but quite often you get one that is considerably higher. The higher number is something to be on the lookout for as it could be that the agent is hoping to lure your business with the greater figure. Understanding how each Realtor came up with their value is important. Take the time to ask questions, because it really is like a job interview, and you are the boss who is doing the hiring.
How long has the agent or agency been in the real estate business? Someone who has been in the business a long time probably has significant experience, has faced various situations or problems that can arise, has many contacts that can assist in the transaction, and has the respect of other agents in the area. Not that you need to have all the experience in the world, but problems do come up in most transactions, and having someone on your side who has faced those issues and has the ability to creatively solve those problems, is surely a plus. However, an agent who is relatively new and might be learning with you is not always such a good thing.
How many clients are they working with right now and how will that effect the time they have to devote to working for you? You don't want an agent that has too many clients and therefore their time would be stretched too thin. This can also be true if the agent is working at a different full time job other than real estate. You want a realtor who is not only capable but available as well. You might want to talk with a few of the realtors’ clients, both current and past clients. As a buyer, you should talk with some of the buyers he or she is working with and/or some of the buyers they helped in the past. Sellers should do the same with some of the realtors’ previous sellers. Ask about what they enjoyed (and didn't enjoy) about the transaction. Was the overall process smooth, were there any difficulties or problems that arose and how were they handled? Did they feel comfortable and informed throughout the process?
As realtors, we are always there to assist other realtors throughout any transaction. Your choice of who you work with should be made with confidence and knowledge that you have the right realtor working for you and with you. Feeling comfortable with them is very important, because you are trusting them with assisting and advising you on a very important transaction.
This article is by Matthew Trudel, Owner of Five Star Realty, Windham.